Cerebral Cavernoma

Cerebral cavernoma seizures

Last Updated December 20th, 2021

When a group of blood vessels dilate abnormally, they form bubble-like cavities called caverns. When these caverns form in the brain, the resulting condition is called a cerebral cavernoma. The blood circulation is not normal within these caverns. If these caverns are formed anywhere in the central nervous system they have the potential to cause severe complications which can be fatal.
A cavern formed anywhere in the CNS can have serious repercussions. When these caverns begin to bleed is when they turn dangerous. The bleeding is often progressive and so are the associated symptoms. It initially begins with loss of sensory functions, dizziness, vision problems, balance problems, and can even lead to hemorrhagic stroke. This type of stroke occurs when there is internal bleeding within the brain. It is essential that an individual with cavernoma symptoms keep their BP in check. High BP can trigger a stroke.
Headaches are often the early signs of a cerebral cavernoma. In addition to headaches, a person may also experience dizziness, vomiting, nausea, and at times, epileptic seizures. Some people may also begin to show classic symptoms of stroke in case of cerebral cavernoma such as double vision and slurred speech.

What Is A Cavernoma? What Does It Look Like?

A cavernoma or cavernous malformation is a rare condition involving the abnormal dilation of a group of blood vessels. As a result of this dilation, bubble-like cavities called caverns form in the affected blood vessels. The flow of blood through these caverns is slowed down and the walls of the vessels are particularly weak at these spots. Hence, there is a possibility of the walls being breached and giving rise to bleeding. Since these dilated blood vessels with caverns appear in clusters and tend to be red (or purplish) in color, they are often likened to raspberries in appearance. Technically, a cavernoma is considered a type of vascular lesion.

What Is A Cerebral Cavernoma?

CEREBRAL CAVERNOMA strokeCavernomas can arise anywhere in the body. They may even be present in the skin, where they are clearly visible externally, forming red bumps. Those that affect the central nervous system (the brain or spinal cord or both) are rather rarer. Generally, spinal cord cavernomas are rarer than those in the brain. A cerebral cavernoma could potentially develop in any part of the brain and in an individual of any age, gender or ancestry.

Sometimes, a single individual could have multiple such abnormal formations in the brain. These may be so small as to only be noticeable under a microscope. Others may span several inches in diameter. These dilated blood vessels could leak out the blood that has pooled within them. They could even give rise to various neurological symptoms that could be life-threatening.

What Causes Cerebral Cavernomas?

The true cause is not well understood. A small number of cases are attributed to genetic factors as the condition appears to run in certain families. There are two main scenarios associated with the formation of cavernous malformations in the brain, namely:

  • A hereditary condition is known as familial multiple cavernous malformation syndromes.
  • Having received radiation to the head and neck region. This includes radiation therapy or accidental exposure.

What Are The Symptoms Of A Cerebral Cavernoma?

cerebral cavernoma hemorrhageWhen a cavernoma arises in the central nervous system, it is capable of causing severe neurological symptoms and potentially fatal complications. The nature and severity of symptoms are dependent on the specific location of the cavernoma in the brain or spinal cord. Sometimes, though, the condition is ‘silent’ and does not cause any noticeable symptoms.

Some potential symptoms are listed below:

  • Headaches.
  • Dizziness.
  • Slurring of speech.
  • Numbness.
  • Other sensory disturbances.
  • Weakness.
  • Double vision or blurring of vision.
  • Difficulty maintaining balance.
  • Difficulty with memory.
  • Internal bleeding.
  • Tremors.
  • Seizures.
  • Hemorrhagic stroke.

Ensure that your surging blood pressure doesn’t trigger a cerebral cavernoma.

Do Cerebral Cavernomas Cause Any Complications?

Symptoms often set in when a cerebral cavernoma bleeds. But they tend to abate as the blood is reabsorbed. This can happen when bleeding is very gradual or when a very small quantity of blood leaks from the cavernoma. Symptoms can worsen progressively if there is a significant and continuous bleed. A bleeding cavernoma can progressively build up pressure on the nervous tissue around it and this can have critical outcomes. For one, it could cause a significant hemorrhage. The risk of hemorrhage is compounded if the patient is found to have multiple such malformations. However, superficial lesions are less likely to bleed than more deep-seated ones.

How Can This Condition Be Diagnosed?

Cerebral cavernoma seizuresBased upon the symptoms alone, it is difficult to accurately diagnose a case of brain or spinal cavernoma. This is especially true since the condition is quite a rare one. Cavernomas are sometimes detected incidentally while conducting tests investigating some other neurological problem. The best way to correctly identify this condition is by means of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tests.

In general, the standard diagnostic protocol would include the following steps:

  • Physical examination.
  • Medical history.
  • Computerised tomography (CT) tests.
  • Angiogram.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test.

Treatment and Prevention

Once the lesion or lesions have been detected, the doctor may or may not advise making any active intervention. If the lesion is largely asymptomatic and small in size, it may be advisable to leave it as it is. In order to keep an eye on the cavernoma, it would still be necessary to monitor it by repeating the tests at regular intervals. On the other hand, some cases may require therapy and there are a number of options available. Medications can help to manage seizures and prevent strokes. Surgery is another alternative. However, the choice of treatment will depend on the extent and severity of the condition and the specific location of the lesion. It is also important to take into account the general health and age of the patient before proceeding to undertake surgery.

There are no methods to prevent cerebral cavernoma. However, adopting a healthy lifestyle, management of weight, cholesterol levels, and blood pressure levels is advised. Stress levels should be checked in order to prevent the sudden shooting up of blood pressure.

Facts

  • Approximately 20% of cases of cerebral cavernoma depict inheritance as a cause.

Facts

  • Around 75% of the total brain mass comprises water.
  • The brain can survive without an oxygen supply only for around 4 to 6 minutes.

Facts

  • The length of blood vessels in the brain comes to around 150,000 miles.

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When a group of blood vessels dilate abnormally, they form bubble-like cavities called caverns. When these caverns form in the brain, the resulting condition is called a cerebral cavernoma. The blood circulation is not normal within these caverns. If these caverns are formed anywhere in the central nervous system they have the potential to cause severe complications which can be fatal.
A cavern formed anywhere in the CNS can have serious repercussions. When these caverns begin to bleed is when they turn dangerous. The bleeding is often progressive and so are the associated symptoms. It initially begins with loss of sensory functions, dizziness, vision problems, balance problems, and can even lead to hemorrhagic stroke. This type of stroke occurs when there is internal bleeding within the brain. It is essential that an individual with cavernoma symptoms keep their BP in check. High BP can trigger a stroke.
Headaches are often the early signs of a cerebral cavernoma. In addition to headaches, a person may also experience dizziness, vomiting, nausea, and at times, epileptic seizures. Some people may also begin to show classic symptoms of stroke in case of cerebral cavernoma such as double vision and slurred speech.

 

Dos and Don'ts

Dos
  • Keep a record of your symptoms. A symptom calendar can include all the details related to your symptoms such as its occurrence for the first time, duration, severity etc.
  • Make a list of all the medications prescribed along with the nutritional and vitamin supplements that you are taking.
  • Manage stress. Stress management can be done by practicing meditation, mindful breathing techniques etc. Get enough sleep to reduce your stress levels.
Don'ts
  • Skip your routine health check-up. This will help you to keep an eye on your blood pressure and cholesterol levels and will keep you well-informed about the condition of the malformation.
  • Have alcohol consumption. It might make the symptoms worse.
  • Indulge in smoking. Nicotine can adversely affect the health of your blood vessels.

 

 

 

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6 arguments in favour of glucosamine and where can you find it Studies have shown that glucosamine works by preventing the breakdown of cartilage of the joints. This is usually…
Chest X-Ray A chest x-ray is a diagnostic test that uses x-rays to visualize the structures inside your chest. It…
LFT-test
Liver Function Test – LFT LFT or Liver Function Test is a blood test used to determine the levels of hepatic enzymes which…
HSV-IgM test
Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV)-IgM Test The HSV-IgM class antibody is produced by the body a few days after an initial HSV infection and…
apolipoprotein a1 test
Apolipoprotein -A1 (APO-A1) Test Apolipoprotein A-I (Apo-A1) constitutes 70% of protein content in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and helps in lipid metabolism.
calories healthy
Calories: How to keep a check on these for faster weight loss Did you know you can burn calories while sleeping? Calorie-burning is what causes weight loss. How much should…
hYdroxycut pills
Hydroxycut: How safe are these so-called weight loss supplements? Hydroxycut is a blend of several different ingredients formulated to promote weight loss; powered by a key weight…
Anhedonia: Does the chronic inability to feel joy affect you too? How often do you feel dragged down by an invisible force? Do you feel an inexplicable emotional numbness…
Plexus Slim: Is this pink slimming drink the ultimate one-stop fat burner? How effective is Plexus Slim in helping people lose weight? What are its ingredients? Can it be safely…
Ear infections check up
Troubled with ear infections? Find easy and instant home remedies here Ear infections are common in both children and adults and may lead to hearing loss if left untreated.…
Appendix pain: Recent findings on this not-so vestigial organ The exact function of the appendix is still not clear. Some consider it as an organ that once…
Top reasons why you need to pay attention to your vitamin B6 intake Vitamin B6- An essential water-soluble vitamin. Its deficiency leads to physical changes such as sores & glossy tongue…
liver cleanse detox
14 go-to foods that are best for a complete natural liver detox Liver cleanse can be achieved by just choosing or avoiding certain types of food. Liver itself is a detoxifying…
PROSTATE-SPECIFIC-ANTIGEN
Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) Test Prostate specific antigen test is a blood test used to determine the presence of prostate cancer or any…
anoscopy
Anoscopy Anoscopy is an invasive diagnostic procedure where a small device known as anoscope will be inserted in the…
Rubella IgM test
Rubella IgM Test The Rubella IgM test is a blood test that is performed to diagnose the presence of the rubella…
lp-pla2
LP-PLA2 Test The LP-PLA2 test is a test which is carried out to assess the levels of Lipoprotein-Associated Phospholipase A2…
dhea adrenal
Androstenedione Test Androstenedione is produced by the adrenal gland, the test of the levels of Androstenedione helps in the evaluation…